Are you afraid of this man? Does the sight of him bring fear or make you tremble? Would you be nervous in his presence? Are you scared?
Well, you should be pretty damn scared. There are 676,000 people who are. But why…?????
I was reading this article the other day and it got me thinking (I hate when that happens).
If this man passed you in the street, you would think nothing of it, right? You’d just see a man. Maybe a business man – an OLD-ass business man. Or maybe he’s a preacher, or a neighbor, or anything really.
Likely though, he’d just be some guy to you. He would MEAN nothing, and BE nothing; no different than the countless other people you see or come near everyday – unless, of course, you’re reading this from some nether region devoid of all human life.
You would pay him no mind and afford him no attention or consideration. Cause he’s NOBODY to you, and if he stopped you in the street and told you to do something, you would rudely tell him to take a hike.
But that’s not the case everywhere.
It’s not the case in Equatorial Guinea.
That man is Teodoro Obiang Nguema, President of Equatorial Guinea, a TINY little nation on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. He’s ruled for 32 years with an iron fist. He’s plundered the state of billions. He’s killed thousands. His people live in poverty, while his children apparently buy Bugatti Veyrons with money they “earned”.
Pretty nice work, actually…
But the Problem Isn’t Unusual
This is Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan (the Northern one). When he’s bored around the massive palace he lives in, he decides to eliminate entire populations in his country. You may have heard of Darfur.
There are tons more of these people, unfortunately; men who have risen to power, or more likely TAKEN power and refused to give it up. They’ve eliminated opposition groups and rigged elections and held their people in poverty to erase in them the hope that they can rid themselves of them.
And it works somehow. For decades and decades.
So strong is their power, in fact, that these men are often able to simply hand control of their countries to their sons, who are often as completely unqualified to run a country as they themselves are. You see this in North Korea, and Syria, and (attempted) in Libya and Egypt.
But how? Have you ever really thought of how and why these people are able to do such ridiculous things despite the fact that their are thousands or millions who don’t want it.
The obvious answer is FEAR, right?
They’re able to keep power and pass power to their children through fear alone; through the idea that if someone were to speak out they would be hurt, or imprisoned, or executed. Their families would be put in danger, and their friends would be jeopardized. They would lose their state jobs, their freedoms, or an arm or a leg – if not their very lives.
But not really. It’s not JUST fear that explains how this happens…
Because these dictators may RULE through fear, but they do not MAINTAIN their power through fear.
Look again at Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
This man has killed many who spoke against him, except HE hasn’t at all, right? When someone angers him, it’s not HIM who hurts them. It’s not HIM who pulls the trigger or imprisons their family.
It’s some underling, right?
Obiang gives an order, and some hired goon who lives with the same fear as the person he is supposed to hurt, does what he is told. They all do. Thousands of people do what he commands either because he pays them exorbitantly, or because they fear that if they do not do as he pleases, someone who he DOES pay exorbitantly will do it for them, and hurt them as well.
But how weird it is to fear HIM at all, when in fact he HIMSELF does nothing to harm you; when in fact he CANNOT do anything to harm you.
He’s maaaybe 5’10″. Maybe 190 pounds (I’m being generous here because I have no clue). And of course, he’s elderly as hell. But mostly, he’s just a guy. Not some giant. Not some superhuman. Not some dude who can vaporize populations with a thought or shoot lightning from his fingertips.
One person vs. 676,000.
The great and mighty Obiang (he says)! Who’s in communication with the Almighty (he claims)! So rich, and powerful, and scary! A decider of fates, and an executioner of men!
Yet…if you pushed him over he would struggle to stand.
He’s an OLD man.
He’s just ONE man.
He’s JUST a man.
How can he literally control over one-half million people? How can he cause them to fear him, who is nobody?
He’s able to do it not just because so many are afraid, but because so many are willing to be weak. They’re willing to give what power they have over their lives to anyone who will command it.
He – like ALL people – has no power but the power given to him; the power WE OTHERS collectively decide to SURRENDER to him.
That IS the fear of people – the surrender of YOUR power from you to another.
This man – no different, or wiser, or stronger than any other – keeps power because his people do not realize that he has none at all, that they have GIVEN him everything he has. He couldn’t simply take it. No man could. Not the largest, not the strongest, not the richest.
No one person could simply walk into a presidential palace and claim its theirs. Just like you couldn’t.
They couldn’t just reach into the state bank and simply withdraw a billion here or there at their own whim or discretion. Just like you couldn’t.
He couldn’t simply stand in front of an army and say they now fight for him. Again, just like you couldn’t.
No. It was the people. The people gave him everything – their power, their money, their lives. They said take what you want and have what you like. Not literally, but through their inaction, through their fear, through the power within themselves they have surrendered.
So often in life, that which you fear is that for which there is no reason to fear. You surrender your power and in doing so, create a monster which consumes you, never realizing that the problem which scares you is nothing of the gloom you imagine, or that the dictator you kneel to, is but an old man who couldn’t defeat even the guards who defend him, let alone the population he suppresses.
Think of your boss, then.
Think of your parents.
Think of the cooler kids.
Think of the hot guy or girl that scares you.
They have no power but the power you give them. They hold no sway over you but the sway you allow.
They are NOBODY until you make of them, in your mind, SOMEBODY – someone to be afraid of or cower to, someone to cry over, or pine for, as if you were weak, as if you had no control, as if YOU were the nobody.
Be more careful than that. Be smarter than that. Be more powerful than that.
Don’t be one of these 676,000.
What are YOUR thoughts?
Why do you think YOU’RE afraid of others? Where have you seen in your lives what I described here? Leave a comment? I’d appreeeciate it!!!